2010 年 25 巻 5 号 p. 579-592
Descriptions of attribute and quality are essential elements in ontology developments. Needless to say, science data are description of attributes of target things and it is an important role of ontology to support the validity of and interoperability between the description. Although some upper ontologies such as DOLCE, BFO, etc. are already developed and extensively used, a careful examination reveals some rooms for improvement of them. While each ontology covers quality and quantity, the mutual interchangeability among these ontologies is not considered because each has been designed intended to develop a ``correct'' ontology of quality and quantity. Furthermore, due to variety of ways of data description, no single ontology can cover all the existing scientific data. In this paper, we investigate ``quality'' and ``value'' from an ontological viewpoint and propose a conceptual framework to deal with attribute, property and quality appearing in existing data descriptions in the nanotechnology domain. This framework can be considered as a reference ontology for describing quality with existing upper ontology. Furthermore, on the basis of the results of the consideration, we evaluate and refine a conceptual hierarchy of materials functions which has been built by nanomaterials researchers. Through the evaluation process, we discuss an effect of the definition of a conceptual framework for building/refining ontology. Such conceptual consideration about quality and value is not only the problem in nanomaterials domain but also a first step toward advancement of an intelligent sharing of scientific data in e-Science.